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After reading the poem "Lenore" (which I have already decided is not about Poe's wife Virginia), I was wondering if anyone had an idea on who this poem was about. Maybe Elmira Royster? Yet the line that troubles me is, "The life upon her yellow hair..." Was this added drama, a blonde girl he loved, or simply a fictional character he considered Lenore?

-- Anonymous, March 20, 2003


It might have to do with the theme of radiance, golden light, the idealized woman. Eulalie too was "yellow-haired". The symbolic conection of venus, Astarte, shining bright and strong. Poe did seem to write this about Virginia once when he had thought of what it would be like to lose her, a fatal premonition. Lenore is interesting in having gone through so many revisions. Finally the golden radiance is reaffirmed in her yellow hair which is harmonious with the word lowly in the line before. A Paean. Irene(The Sleeper). These contain ideas going back to another poet George Darley "The Wedding Wake"(the dead young bride has raven hair). It is not unusual for Poe to cast things in a different "light" reversing the values of Venus, the stars and the Moon from the way other romantics did. That is because his concept of death is quite different too, his own point of view stronger. It is like the miravcle story where Jesus turns to the mourners and says "She sleeps" and they time out from their ritualistic mourning to criticize. Poe does not resurrect, nor is he there in that heaven of hope, but his sentiment is nakedly the same assertiveness, melancholy reality tinged with eery defiance.

Now how this deals with Poe's women is that he he reaffirmsall the bonds of life and love WITHIN that melancholy sleep of death, trapped inviolate with the bloom still there and the worm not yet. Is that not the unrequited between where Poe lives after all? All his lost but not gone or forgotten women are part of all these poems.

-- Anonymous, March 20, 2003

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